ChipSats and Extraterrestrial Intelligence Presented by ISU MSS20 Students

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The two teams of the International Space University ISU MSS20 students delivered a 60min presentation each, about ChipSats and Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It happened on 14 May 2020, remotely, for the first time due to the Covid19 situation.

The students of the MSc in Space Studies (MSS) program work in groups on Team Projects (TP) as part of the MSS curriculum. Team Projects are intended to be an academic and educational exercise to simulate working on a real life space agency or industry project.


Sahba El-Shawa, an ISU MSS20 student who is part of the team project “Extraterrestrial Intelligence – The Search, the Science and the Significance” shares the following: 

“Our project, titled Extraterrestrial Intelligence: the Search, the Science, and the Significance, explored one of the most inspirational scientific quests. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has the potential to answer some of the fundamental questions of humankind, and requires multiple perspectives due to the profound impact that a positive detection would have on humanity. 

Our TP goes beyond traditional approaches to SETI in a comprehensive way that contributes to initiatives in science, technology, law, and outreach. I led the outreach team, and my favourite part was the children’s book we developed to raise awareness of SETI to the younger generations. We had a special reading of the book from some of the parents of our MSS20 class in our presentation, and seeing their kids interact and learn from the content made all the hard work worth it.

This project taught me a lot, and allowed me to explore many interests in new ways. It was really amazing to see what our team could achieve in 7 months, especially given the challenging circumstances towards the end. I’m so happy to have worked with such a brilliant group of people, and hope that our predictions of the inspiring future presented in our TP presentation come true one day.”


Marco Marsh is an ISU MSS20 student and member of the TP “ChipSats: New Opportunities”:

“Seven months ago, the International Space University brought twenty-one people together, coming from eighteen countries across a spectrum of backgrounds. As a team, we were tasked with delivering a project on ChipSats – a concept unfamiliar to many of us as we were to one another! We have come a long way since, and Team ChipSat should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished. The team showed camaraderie, tenacity, resourcefulness, and support for one another, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown, from start to finish. Looking back, the project nurtured growth in the team, and we now share a unique bond that is difficult to replicate anywhere else. The project may be over, but the lessons, fond memories, and friendships will endure long after. I see a bright future for each member of Team ChipSat and wish them every success.”


Find out more about those two team projects on ISU’s YouTube channel.

The executive summaries and full reports will soon be available on ISU’s library website, where you can already find more than 100 team projects.

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